Mason’s 4th-grade class is learning about Greek Mythology and part of the unit involves creating a Greek Costume. They were asked to choose a character – human or creature – from Greek Mythology and Mason chose Ares, the Greek God of War to dress up as. The class was tasked with creating a costume, with minimal help from adults. Mason immediately got to work brainstorming his ancient Greek God costume. We had tons of fun looking through images of Ares and discussing what types of materials he could use for his DIY Ares Greek Mythology Costume.
Although I helped Mason with his construction plans, he executed the majority of this costume himself. It was so fun to watch him and my heart burst when he said, “It is so cool to have a crafty mom. The other kids won’t have this many cool materials to choose from – they’ll mostly be using toilet paper rolls!” I love that he recognized the fact that he was lucky to have my craft room at his fingertips and that he appreciated my creative side.
I did not take step-by-step tutorial photos since he was creating this outfit and I didn’t want to bug him, but I will share the basic concepts for those who have landed here while helping their child research a DIY Greek Mythology Costume!
Materials for Ares Costume
Mason decided on a basic tunic and skirt armor plus a deep red cape. After researching armor that Ares would have worn, Mason ended up deciding on greaves (leg armor) and wrist bracers. He also added a shield and sandals, mostly because they were easier to make than close-toe shoes, along with a Spartan-style helmet. After doing a bit of research he found that Ares is almost always depicted with a spear and only sometimes with a sheathed sword, so spear it was.
For the tunic, I suggested using a large man’s tee shirt because it would provide enough material and be a comfortable fit. We got one for inexpensive at Walmart. I had Mason put on the shirt inside out and then pinned it along the bottom of the arms and along his sides so that it was a bit more fitted and looked less like a tent. I carefully removed it and sewed along the pins and he trimmed the excess fabric. He then put the shirt back on and he determined the length he wanted and cut it to length.
Also at Walmart, we found some Greek Key ribbon and Mason added the ribbon to the sleeves of the shirt with hot glue.
The cape was made from a red sheet. After measuring the width of his shoulders I trimmed the cape into an a-line shape (narrow at the top, wider at the bottom). Mason then hot-glued the Greek Key ribbon to the bottom of the cape.
He cut a rectangular piece of the red fabric, and I sewed that to just the top two corners of the cape, creating the drape around his neck. He hot glued two large gold buttons on the seam of the shoulders.
DIY Greek Armor
The armor was made from microsuede material I had left over from my Neon Stripe Clutch. We created a tie-shaped template on some cardstock and traced it onto the microsuede for him to cut out. Microsuede doesn’t fray so it is perfect for creating these shapes and doesn’t require sewing.
Mason wrapped a 2″ brown ribbon around his waist and trimmed it to about 2 inches too big. Next, he laid the microsuede armor pieces along the ribbon to figure out spacing and then hot glued them into place. He also hot glued velcro for a closure. He then added gold gems as embellishments.
The greaves were made the same way, with me creating a template and tracing it onto the fabric. The same process was used for the wrist braces.
Making a Spartan Shield & Sandals
The sandals were made by tracing his shoes onto cardboard and cutting them out with a box cutter. Mason spray painted them a bronze color and I helped him hot glue ribbon to create straps.
The shield was almost entirely his own doing as well. I had recommended picking up a dessert tray at the Dollar Store and spray painting it, but he went to the recycling bin and found a round cardboard piece from a pizza box. He then broke into my vinyl stash and covered the entire front with gold vinyl. We then cut a brown vinyl “V” and added it to the front of the shield.
To finish the shield he used a hole punch to cut out vinyl circles and adhered them along the edge of the shield. This process took him about 45 minutes because he wanted the rivets so close together!
Making a Costume Spear
The spear was all Mason’s idea as well. He found an old curtain rod that was the perfect fit. He added some Duct Tape “grips” to the rod and I helped him spray paint it bronze.
Next, he used a styrofoam block from my stash and decided that would make the best spearhead. Using a Styrofoam cutter we cut the block to shape. Once completed, he stuck the spearhead onto a skewer. I spray painted it bronze and once dry he hot glued it to the top of the curtain rod.
DIY Spartan Helmet
The last piece of the costume was the Spartan helmet. He found a picture of the style helmet he wanted and I free-handed the front of the mask onto some chipboard. I also freehanded the back piece onto chipboard and then Mason cut out both pieces.
Mason cut two 12″ x 2″ pieces of chipboard and hot glued the two strips together. He then wrapped the strap around his head and I helped him mark where to glue the pieces together to create a headband to support the helmet. We then glued the front and back pieces onto the strap.
To do this, he put the headband on and held the front piece in place while I marked where it should be glued. He then glued that in place and put the headband back on so I could mark where the back piece should be adhered. He took it off and glued that in place as well.
Now to add some support to the helmet.
Mason cut 12″ x 1/2″ strips of chipboard. He glued one of the strips to the front inside of the headband, placed the helmet on his head, and marked where to glue the strip to the back inside. We repeated this with a strip left to right and then diagonally until we had 4 strips creating the base of the top of the helmet – look inside a baseball helmet to get the concept.
We blew up a balloon placed the helmet onto it and began to paper-mache the top of the helmet. It took two coats of paper mache. After that dried, we spray-painted the helmet bronze.
Mason brainstormed a couple of ideas for the plume top on his helmet and ended up deciding on black construction paper. He accordion folded three pieces and then I helped him glue them together and we attached them to the helmet.
It took about 2.5 days to finish this Greek Mythology Costume school project. He was so excited about the costume that it was completed about 3 weeks before the assignment was due!